Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dr Teo Ho Pin, where is our money?

by Dhevarajan Devadas

After reading Dr Teo Ho Pin’s second forum page letter, I can only conclude that he is unable to understand what Singaporeans are demanding from him. Dr Teo, we do not want you to waste time “exploring” ways of how to keep residents informed of the town councils’ finances. We want you to inform us right now about what the town councils have spent our money on.

We do not need stock replies and interviews from you reassuring us. We want to know the exact details of your investments. And don’t you dare keep referring us to the annual reports as if they contain the information we want. As shown in the analysis by TOC, these reports lack any details about specific investments by the town councils.

It is already outrageous that you have invested our money in such high-risk investments without informing us. Now you conduct this ‘wayang’ about being on top of the matter when in reality you don’t seem bothered at all. Mr Mah Bow Tan has stated, “Each town council has the duty to explain to its residents how it invests its funds, what is its philosophy, what are the risks it takes”. So far neither you nor any of the other PAP town councils have done anything of that sort. You even have the audacity to say that the town councils’ investment strategies cannot be revealed!

We pay the service and conservancy charges (S&CCs) so that the town councils can maintain our estates. We are not paying so that town councils can accumulate enormous sinking funds and act like little “Temaseks” and “GICs”.

If town councils can build up such huge sinking funds that they can invest it in high-risk investments, why is there a need to collect the charges at the present rates? I can’t help but compare this to the old NKF collecting millions in donations but spending only 10 cents out of every dollar on the patients. The rest was wastefully spent or accumulated into huge reserves as we eventually discovered to our horror and disgust.

I believe that our current S&CCs can be reduced dramatically. Such a move would be timely in the face of the worsening recession. Nothing is more ridiculous than paying more than is necessary to the town council so that it can gamble our money away or accumulate it for that elusive “rainy day”.

Much has been said and written about the responsibility of the PAP town councils and MPs in this issue. Dr Teo, as the Coordinating Chairman for PAP town councils, you have the ultimate responsibility in revealing and explaining all the investments by the town councils. For a change, please start giving truly genuine answers to the residents.

So Dr Teo Ho Pin, where is our money?

Source: The Online Citizen